All the years I’ve worked in food service, Europeans have been the most groaned about group of people, second only to little old ladies on tour busses.  They don’t tip, 90% of them don’t speak English and the 10% who do speak a different English than we do. 

This means the nice train of service I have going on is set to derail at a table of foreigners and the destruction will be epic.   

The people standing around are my other customers wondering where their food is. They look pissed.


Since befriending Blogmella I’ve learned tipping isn’t a custom in Europe.  On one hand, when in Rome…  On the other hand, old habits are hard to break.

One night last winter I had a table of Hungarians (maybe) and they were incredibly abrupt.  They weren’t rude, but they didn’t want me around their table other than to drop off their food and drinks.  When they finished eating, they flagged me over, stacked their plates and gave me the shove off.  Their English was very bad, but I can take a hint.  I groaned in the waitstation about what the ticket total and expected tip was going to do to my percentage.  I must have done something right because they left me 20%.  I nearly fell over. 

Lately I’ve started appreciating what Europeans DO bring to the restaurant.  They are polite.  They are tidy.  Their kids are very well mannered.  They aren’t needy or demanding.  My service train has to slow down to get their order, but it can power back up to take care of all the other needy guests.

I’ve become more patient with their clumsy English.  I smile and tell them to take their time.  I know a few basic words in most languages so I thank them in their native language.  I laugh with them.  If nothing else, I have one stress free table in a section full of potential headaches.

Guess what has happened?!

Last week a table of French people tipped me $20 on a $70 ticket.  (29%)

A group of English and German people tipped me $30 on a $100 ticket last night.  (30%)

Another family of Europeans tipped me $10 on a $40 ticket last night.  (25%)

I say, ‘Bring on the Europeans!’  The other servers can have all the Americans suffering through the recession.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. blogmella
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 09:38:09

    Hahaha! We RULE! It is our custom to tip in restaurants (and taxis but very little else)- but normally we don’t cough up much… 10% means we are impressed. Sometimes you’ll get whatever change people have to hand.

    I can only assume that 1) You are very good at your job and that 2) The incredibly cheap price of eating out in America made them feel generous.

    Lastly – Brits were sharing a table with Germans? WTF? I suppose that is more likely than them mixing with the garlic-smelling, rude, sweaty FRENCH.

    Yeah I was confused by the Brits mixed with the Germans, too.

    I read a report that we were more likely to see Europeans traveling than Americans due to the economy. At first it made me groan, but lately I’m feeling okay about it.


  2. whatigotsofar
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 11:23:55

    Wait… You got a tip from French people??? You sure they were French?

    Yes! I was shocked. They ordered dessert and I remember standing in the salad bar room pitching a fit because I had to make a fucking strawberry shortcake and they weren’t going to tip me. More work for less money. I nearly fell over when I saw the credit card tip.


  3. DarcKnyt
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 11:38:52

    Huh. Very strange. I’ve had some experiences with Europeans visiting here over the course of my life and it’s NEVER been pleasant. EVER.

    This is sort of a weird thing to me. Bully for you on the tips though.

    It’s weird for me too. I have a list of People I Hate to Wait On and Europeans have always been on that list.


  4. DarcsFalcon
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 12:52:58

    I think it demonstrates that nice servers make better tips. 🙂 I’ve had some rude ones in my day that got only the bare minimum, but the nice ones, I try to reward that because I appreciate it.

    I hope the trend continues. So far we’ve had a ton of European guests.


    • Sparty Girl
      Jun 04, 2010 @ 13:57:42

      It’s also really, really hard work. When you realize they only get (what is it now?) $2.35/hour they deserve a minimum tip even if they’re terrible.

      It’s $2.50 and our taxes are taken out of that. During the summer months I don’t even get a paycheck. In the winter my paycheck isn’t worth picking up, so yeah, I work for tips.


  5. Ahmnodt Heare
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 18:49:21

    Tipping in France is discouraged. On the other hand, most servers make over $20.00/hour.

    I wonder what would happen if servers here were paid an hourly wage?


    • blogmella
      Jun 06, 2010 @ 12:28:05

      You’d act like assholes – like the servers in France (I’ve been there many times).

      Yeah, most likely. If I didn’t have to be nice to people I would probably be a complete asshole. The owner refuses to set an auto gratutity on large table for just that reason. I hate big tables since they tend to tip for shit. If I knew they had to give me a decent tip, I’d give them good service.


  6. Cindy
    Jun 04, 2010 @ 19:33:39

    In Canada 15 to 20% is an expected tip and all wait staff get paid at least minimum wage ($8.80 in Alberta**), but more often $10+ an hour. No wonder it’s so cheap to eat down in the states, the restaurants don’t hardly have to pay the staff.

    There is a debate about whether servers should be paid minimum wage or stick with the tipping system. There has never been a time I made minimum wage waiting tables, so I’d prefer to stick with the tipping system. Even in slow times I make more per hour than the cooks do.

    **Minimum wage is different depending on the province:


  7. tipsfortips
    Jun 05, 2010 @ 17:03:47

    I have been getting brutalized by Europeans lately. I know their heart is in the right place, but buy a freaking tour book that was not published in East Germany. It is 2010. It is commonly known you tip in America and THAT is why you can get cheap food in America with good food. $20 an hour for a server would make that meal more expensive. Learn the local customs. I don’t get excused for driving on the wrong side of the road in England because I didn’t know any better.

    I have been brutalized in years past by Europeans so I don’t know what’s going on. I’d like to think it was my new attitude, but maybe they just feel sorry for me.


  8. سرگرمی
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 12:07:12

    Your completely correct on this piece.


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